A heartbreaking 4-3 loss in their Major Semi to long time rivals Albion Park has not dented the confidence of the defending premiers and there is still a strong belief amongst the team that they can progress to their fourth consecutive Grand Final.
Although the defeat on the weekend meant Uni missed their chance to be the first team into the decider, they will have a second chance to book their place when they face Wests this week. Remarkably if Uni do make the Grand Final it will be the fourth straight year that the two teams have contested the decider.
Uni will be boosted by the return of Australian representative Tristan White, who is based in Perth. White was unavailable for the clash with Albion Park due to commitments with the Australian side, but he will fly back for this weeks clash.
White, who has been on song for Uni whenever he’s been available this season, should offer the side more in attack and potentially the little bit of extra spark they could have used against Albion Park.
Uni Captain-Coach Simon Beaton said the return of White will definitely be a bonus for his side.
“You can never really be sure what sort of a game you’re going to get from Tristan but there’s no doubt all the boys lift when he’s in the side,” he said.
While Beaton was disappointed his side did not get the result against Albion Park, but also tried to draw as many positives from the loss as possible.
“I guess you could say it’s disappointing,” he said.
“It’s more disappointing in terms of the result, not in the effort of the boys,” he added.
The defending premiers put up a good fight against Albion Park in the Major Semi and could consider themselves unlucky not to be in the Grand Final as the match could have gone either way. It was ultimately Albion Park’s ability to take advantage of their chances from corners which separated the two teams.
This is an area Beaton admitted is a cause of concern for his side.
“Converting more of our corners is something we’ll have to work on because we didn’t get any today and also obviously not giving away so many easy goals from corners,” he said.
Albion Park’s Blake Govers scored all four of his side’s goals from corners, with each of them being almost identical.
“We obviously didn’t want that to happen, so it was disappointing, but I think the rest of the game was good.”
“We really should win with three goals, so it’s important for us not to leak so many goals and if we can tighten things up in the coming weeks, I think we should be alright,” he added.
Wests defeated Robertson comprehensively, winning 7-3 and Beaton said that defence from corners will be just as important against them. “Wests beat Robertson pretty convincingly and they scored a few goals of corners so that’s going to be crucial,” he said.
Uni now have a great opportunity to qualify for the Grand Final and potentially secure their fourth consecutive title, although Beaton said it was difficult to say how confident his side was in the lead up to the match against Wests.
“It’s hard to say just after a loss, so we’ll just have to wait and see what happens next week.”